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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Gaby Wenig

October 9, 2003 | 8:00 pm

Chaverim Simcha

Four members of Chaverim, a social program for adults with developmental disabilities celebrated their bar/bat mitzvahs at Valley Beth Shalom. Karen Cook, Cindi Rothstein, Ron Corn and Stephen Wise didn't have the opportunity to partake in the Jewish ritual at the traditional age of 12 or 13. Now in their 30s, the members trained under Rabbi Sara Berman and Rabbi Sharon Gladstone in preparation for the Torah reading. Directed by Dr. Amy Gross under the auspices of the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, Chaverim organizes social events from dances to Shabbat dinners.

For more information, e-mail the Chaverim at info@mychaverim.org . -- Leora Alhadeff, Contributing Writer

Academic Honors

Magnanimous Los Angeles is sharing its prodigious brainpower with other less cerebrally fortunate cities. Tarzana resident David Tabari, 18, was selected to receive San Francisco State University's most distinguished academic award for freshmen, the Presidential Scholar, which is worth some $17,000 over four years. Tabari, who comes from a family of Iranian refugees will major in molecular biology and plans to move to Israel and build a children's hospital there.

And in Philadelphia, the American Academy for Jewish Research recently elected University of Judaism (UJ) professor Ziony Zevit to become a fellow. Zevit is the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the UJ, and is one of only four Southern California scholars to be elected to the academy, one of the oldest Jewish studies organizations in America.

Bronstein's Breakthrough

If you have trouble recognizing faces, then perhaps a Technion student can help. Michael Bronstein and Raz Zur, two students from the Technion, one of Israel's premier science universities, visited members of the Southern California Chapter of the American Technion Society at the Four Seasons Hotel on Sept. 7. Bronstein demonstrated his revolutionary facial-recognition software that he developed with his twin brother, Alexander.

Winn Win Situation

Betty Winn has been appointed the new head of school at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge. Winn, the former head of school at Los Encinos School in Encino will be responsible for providing educational leadership and direction at Heschel.

Mo Money, Mo Books

The Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles came into the dough recently, receiving two large grants. The first was $40,000 from the Library Services and Technology Act/California State Library, which will go toward providing Jewish cultural programs at the Los Angeles Public Library's Roberston branch.

The Jewish Federation/Metro West Region provided the second grant of $12,000, which will go toward a program called The Right Book @ The Right Time that provides educators and librarians with knowledge of how to use literature for children and families facing troubling times.

Bat Yam Yum

The Hadassah Chapter of Bat Yam Daughters of the Sea held their second annual membership dinner on Sept. 10 at the home of Miriam Zlotolow, where special guest speaker Judy Gruen read excerpts from her latest humor book "Till We Eat Again." The Bat Yam chapter was formed to attract residents from Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Westchester areas.

For more information, call Dorraine Gilbert at (310) 822-5250.

L.A. Law

Lawyers, judges, law professors and others involved in the legal profession converged at the St. Regis Hotel on Sept. 24 as Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was honored with the Harvey L. Silbert Torch of Learning Award at an event sponsored by the American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU). Silbert, who passed away last year, supported Hebrew U for more than 50 years, providing scholarships and naming buildings and programs at the university.

On hand to greet the crowd were Richard Ziman, AFHU Western region chair; Peter Weil, AFHU Western region president; and Martinn Mandles, AFHU Western region vice president; Eliyahu Honig, Hebrew U's vice president; and Dean Eyal Zamir, representing Hebrew U's Faculty of Law.

Upon accepting the award from Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whom Kozinski clerked for, Kozinski paid tribute to his parents' love for learning and said that Kennedy taught him "that judging is a serious business, and that there is no easy solution."

"[Kennedy taught me] that you didn't have to be Jewish to be a mensch," he said. "But you can't be a good judge, and you certainly can't be a great judge, unless you are a mensch."

Having an IMPACT!

What do Israeli soldiers do when the fighting is over? The Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, a group that promotes the well being of Israeli soldiers, has instituted the IMPACT! Scholarships, which provide soldiers with the financial resources to pursue a college education once they have completed their service. To date, more than $3.5 million scholarship dollars have been raised in the United States.

Sgt. Maj. Tzahi Turman, a recipient of an IMPACT! scholarship spoke to prominent business leaders at the Four Seasons Hotel about how he benefited from the scholarship. Turman served in the navy, and is currently a student at the University of Haifa, where he studies law and economics.

"The moral and financial support Jews in America provide [to] soldiers during their military service and after is a tremendous boost to our moral and our overall readiness," Turman told the crowd. "Your caring means the world to us."

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